In response to the Uttarkashi tunnel collapse trapping 41 workers, the government has initiated a comprehensive five-option action plan for their rescue. Road, Transport and Highways Secretary Anurag Jain provided updates on the ongoing rescue efforts, emphasizing the government’s commitment to ensuring the safe rescue of all laborers.
The collapsed Silkyara Tunnel, part of the Char Dham all-weather road project, prompted the government to deploy multiple agencies for the rescue operation. The five agencies involved in the rescue plan are Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Sutluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVNL), Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), and Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited (THDCL).
The plan includes efforts such as vertical drilling, micro-tunneling, and the creation of additional pipelines for the supply of essential items. Despite challenges, the government is determined to rescue the trapped workers and is providing necessary support, including multivitamins, antidepressants, and dried fruits to sustain those within the tunnel.
Key elements of the rescue plan include
Vertical Drilling by SJVNL: SJVNL will undertake vertical drilling to rescue the trapped laborers, with equipment mobilized from Gujarat and Odisha.
Micro-Tunneling by THDC: THDC will commence micro-tunneling from the Barkot end, with heavy machinery already mobilized for the operation.
Vertical Drilling by ONGC: ONGC, known for deep drilling expertise, has initiated the initial work for vertical drilling from the Barkot end.
Pipeline Construction by NHIDCL: NHIDCL is creating an additional 6-inch pipeline for the delivery of essential items, with drilling progress ensuring its completion.
Coordination and Communication: NHIDCL MD Mahmood Ahmed is appointed as the coordination in-charge with all central agencies, stationed at Silkyara to ensure effective communication and coordination.
The government, acknowledging the challenging circumstances, is focused on maintaining communication and uplifting the morale of the trapped laborers. The built-up portion of the tunnel, where workers are located, provides a measure of safety, and ongoing efforts are directed at creating alternative routes for supplies.
This coordinated multi-agency approach aims to expedite the rescue operation and ensure the well-being of the workers trapped in the Uttarkashi tunnel.